| AWWA Member Spotlight – Linda Correia, Fall River, Mass.
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AWWA Member Spotlight – Linda Correia, Fall River, Mass.

Linda CorreiaPosition: Drinking water consultant, Massachusetts Public Water Supplies 

Education/Certifications: B.S., Marine Biology, Roger Williams College; MBA, Bryant University; Grade 4 treatment and distribution certifications, Massachusetts Board of Operators

Career background: I began working in the drinking water field in 1992 as a laboratory technician with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. I obtained a treatment operator’s license in 1996 and was hired as director of water treatment and resources with the City of Fall River, Mass., where I oversaw the operation and maintenance of the city’s 26 MGD surface water supply drinking water facility, the protected watershed lands, dams, and reservoirs. Through an acquaintance, I began working with a small water system in a neighboring rural community during my free time. 

How did you broaden your experience? In 2005 I joined the North Attleboro Water Department as the water quality supervisor, implementing Greensand filtration as treatment for groundwater supply. In 2008 I became plant manager at the Taunton River Desalination Plant and helped with the building completion, start-up, and commissioning of the facility. This was a joint venture between the OHL Group from Madrid, Spain, and a local engineering firm to produce drinking water from the Taunton River and distribute it to the City of Brockton, Mass., to augment their supply. I continued in that position until my retirement in October 2021. During that time, I participated as co-principal to develop a curriculum for drinking water operators through the environmental science program at Bristol Community College.

Linda Correia and fiance Denis RonanWhat brought you out of “retirement” and into operating 40 small public water systems? I have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to enjoy a healthy work/life balance and a sense of accomplishment. As a consultant, I plan and schedule my work time and work from my home office. (Pictured left, Correia and her fiancé, Denis Ronan) 

As a recent recipient of Massachusetts’ Distinguished Operator Award, what have you most enjoyed about being a water operator? Helping water systems resolve water quality deficiencies and return systems to comply with state regulations.

What traits do you believe make an excellent water operator? Good analytical and mechanical skills, attention to detail, and good documentation of water quality results, records and trends. Excellent communication with team members and supervisors. Persistence to follow-through with tasks and assignments.

Correia and Ronan at Cliffs of Moher, IrelandWhat first drew you to working in water? From a young age I was attracted to water and enjoyed the ocean, ponds and streams and the interesting organisms that inhabit them. As I studied science, I learned the importance of protecting water quality and our vital resources for survival. 

How have you benefited from AWWA membership? I’ve been an AWWA member for many years and have attended past annual conferences and acquired continuing education through the Association. I look forward to ACE23 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

Tell us about your family: I was born and raised in Fall River, Mass. My parents worked diligently to support our modest home and family of five. My fiancé, Denis Ronan, and I enjoy traveling. I look forward to spending time with family in various parts of the country. I also garden, boat and cycle. (Pictured right, Correia and Ronan at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.)

What would people be surprised to know about you? My first job after college graduation was at an aquaculture farm on Prudence Island, R.I.